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This School Bus Is a Tiny Home on Wheels Filled With Art and Ingenious Features

This School Bus Is a Tiny Home on Wheels Filled With Art and Ingenious Features 26 photos
Photo: YouTube Screenshot / Tiny House Giant Journey
Miss Mary School Bus ConversionMiss Mary School Bus ConversionMiss Mary School Bus ConversionMiss Mary School Bus ConversionMiss Mary School Bus ConversionMiss Mary School Bus ConversionMiss Mary School Bus ConversionMiss Mary School Bus ConversionMiss Mary School Bus ConversionMiss Mary School Bus ConversionMiss Mary School Bus ConversionThis School Bus Is a Tiny Home on Wheels Filled With Art and Ingenious FeaturesThis School Bus Is a Tiny Home on Wheels Filled With Art and Ingenious FeaturesThis School Bus Is a Tiny Home on Wheels Filled With Art and Ingenious FeaturesThis School Bus Is a Tiny Home on Wheels Filled With Art and Ingenious FeaturesThis School Bus Is a Tiny Home on Wheels Filled With Art and Ingenious FeaturesThis School Bus Is a Tiny Home on Wheels Filled With Art and Ingenious FeaturesThis School Bus Is a Tiny Home on Wheels Filled With Art and Ingenious FeaturesThis School Bus Is a Tiny Home on Wheels Filled With Art and Ingenious FeaturesThis School Bus Is a Tiny Home on Wheels Filled With Art and Ingenious FeaturesThis School Bus Is a Tiny Home on Wheels Filled With Art and Ingenious FeaturesThis School Bus Is a Tiny Home on Wheels Filled With Art and Ingenious FeaturesThis School Bus Is a Tiny Home on Wheels Filled With Art and Ingenious FeaturesThis School Bus Is a Tiny Home on Wheels Filled With Art and Ingenious FeaturesThis School Bus Is a Tiny Home on Wheels Filled With Art and Ingenious Features
I truly enjoy writing about campers, and I always search for rigs with distinctive details and features. When it comes to interior design, most campers have similar looks – that's because there are some proven formulas that work and cater to the mainstream audience. Today, I want to present a unique skoolie design made by a couple.
Meet Shelley and Randy and "Miss Mary," their school bus turned full-time mobile home. It's a 2004 Thomas Built Saf-T-Liner bus sporting an 8.3-liter Cummins engine paired with an Allison 3060 transmission.

This couple were both artists for 31 years. I bet you can't guess what type of business they had. They didn't sell paintings or sculptures. In fact, they sold kaleidoscopes – how cool is that? After retiring, Shelley needed a lifestyle change, so they took the leap and bought this Thomas Built bus.

Initially, Randy planned to complete the conversion in six months. I don't know how many people make it in the time period they estimate at the beginning – just a few, I'd say. Most people I've written about that completed DIY conversions took way longer than expected. In this couple's case, it took one year and a half.

However, Shelley and Randy didn't want to make a minimal transformation to the bus. They transformed it inside out. For instance, one of the most significant changes they made was raising the roof by 16 inches (40.6 centimeters) at the front and 24 inches (61 centimeters) at the rear – yes, you read that right, the roof has varying height, as the couple wanted to have extra room in the bedroom at the rear.

This School Bus Is a Tiny Home on Wheels Filled With Art and Ingenious Features
Photo: YouTube Screenshot / Tiny House Giant Journey
Before we take a closer look at this mobile home, let me tell you more about the budget. Skoolies are generally cheaper to convert than camper vans. Most of the skoolie builds I've covered are in the $30,000 to $40,000 (€27,752 to €37,002) range, although I've seen some built for around $10,000 (€9,251), like this one. This couple's bus had a total cost of about $60,000 (€55,504), including the base vehicle.

Like on most buses, you'll notice various exterior features. For instance, Shelley and Randy devised a propane compartment holding two canisters. Moreover, you'll find two large storage compartments. Near them, the couple fitted a 100-gallon (379-liter) freshwater tank and two 45-gallon (170-liter) greywater tanks.

One unique and striking element is the emergency door. The vehicle's original emergency door was in the middle of the bus, but Shelley and Randy moved it toward the rear on the driver's side of the rig. What's cool about it is that it has multiple see-through parts made from the vehicle's original windows.

Another excellent detail is the bus's entrance, made out of a glass door with a metal frame – I've never seen something like it on a camper. Moreover, the metal frame has swirls made using an angle grinder.

This School Bus Is a Tiny Home on Wheels Filled With Art and Ingenious Features
Photo: YouTube Screenshot / Tiny House Giant Journey
Step inside, and a beautiful and roomy interior will surround you. Specifically, this bus offers 250 square feet (23 square meters) of space. There are so many unique decorative items around the interior that the couple has collected throughout the years as kaleidoscope artists. Since many items are made of glass, they have to wrap things before they drive away to change locations, but Shelley explained it's worth it.

The driver's cabin didn't undergo any radical changes, so let me start with the area behind it: the lounge.

The lounge area consists of a large couch with a twin-size mattress on the driver's side, next to a cabinet with a swivel-mounted TV above. The couch can be adjusted like a lounge chair to find the perfect position. On the passenger side, you'll notice a table with two seats where the couple can work or eat. The best features in this area are two round skylights.

Next, we have the kitchen, which is split into two parts. It features an enormous sink integrated into a beautiful Zebra wood countertop, another large countertop, a humongous 10-cubic-foot fridge/freezer, an oven with a four-burner stove, an overhead microwave, and an overhead spice rack.

Miss Mary School Bus Conversion
Photo: YouTube Screenshot / Tiny House Giant Journey
The following part of this bus's interior is separated from the rest of the living space by a sliding door integrating corkboards. Behind it, you'll find a massive pull-out pantry.

The rest of the space left until the rear bedroom is occupied by the bathroom, which is split in two. It boasts a rock tile floor, a sizeable 32-inch shower with a window and a ceiling Maxxair fan, and a composting toilet. Above the toilet, you'll discover the rig's powerful electrical system.

I won't detail every single component of the power system but rather mention its highlights. It has a 3,000 W inverter/charger, shut-off switches, 1,200 W solar panels on the roof, and controls for a water heater and inverter. Unfortunately, Randy didn't mention the battery capacity, but I'm assuming it's enough to last them for quite a while when going off the grid.

And finally, we have the bedroom, which I can easily say is one of the biggest I've seen in a camper. Honestly, it looks like a studio apartment bedroom. It features shelves for storage, two windows, a large cabinet, the emergency door I mentioned earlier, and a Murphy bed. What's more, the rear part of the room is used for storage, serving as a hanging closet with shelves above.

This School Bus Is a Tiny Home on Wheels Filled With Art and Ingenious Features
Photo: YouTube Screenshot / Tiny House Giant Journey
"Why install a Murphy bed where there's already so much room?" you might wonder. Well, this clever solution was for another problem – when the bed is up, it acts as a sound barrier for the engine, which is at the very rear of the bus, behind the bedroom closet.

One beautiful touch is a quilt used to cover the bed. Shelley made it, and it actually won awards for its design; it was even published in a book. Other clever touches are the Murphy bed's legs, which also double as shelves, and a sizeable fold-up table in the lower part of the bed.

When the bed is lifted up, the couple can use the table and shelves as an art studio. After so much time spent as an artist, it's hard to stop creating. What's more, with the windows and emergency door on the sides and a skylight above, plenty of light comes in, which you need a lot of when making art.

All in all, this tiny home on wheels has everything this couple needs to live life full-time on the road. It's beautiful inside out, so cleverly designed (especially the rear dual-purpose space), and overall, a fantastic build that didn't break the bank considering how many features it packs. Props to this couple for the amazing work.

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About the author: Mircea Mazuru
Mircea Mazuru profile photo

Starting out with a motorcycle permit just because he could get one two years earlier than a driver's license, Mircea keeps his passion for bikes (motor or no motor) alive to this day. His lifelong dream is to build his own custom camper van.
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